Recently I’ve seen a lot of people talking about binge-reading a book series.
I’m no stranger to the binge. I binge-watched Vikings, Spartacus, Stranger Things, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones & (secretly, over the top of a book) Glee.
I’ve watched the extended edition of the Lord of the Rings trilogy back to back (11.4 hours). I’ve had my share of nights out I can’t remember. I’ve waddled out of restaurants and fell to sleep in a chair when I got home.
But I’ve never binged a book series.
Partly because I feel like I have such a huge list of highly recommended books to catch up on, I feel like I want to sample a bit of everything, so jump from one series to the next. Often, especially as I’m easily distracted, once I’ve finished one book I’ll have the urge to try something new – even when I’ve adored the book I’ve just finished. For example; if I’ve just finished a fantasy book, maybe I’ll be in the mood for sci-fi. If I’ve just finished a bit of a brutal book, I’ll usually fancy something a bit lighter. If I read a bit of everything, it gives me the allusion that I’m more on top of my TBR than I actually am, and can at least talk a little with other people about different book series too.
So why are you talking about binge-reading?
Because I think I’m gonna do it!
But why? You just gave reasons NOT to do it…
Because. Is an epic fantasy series as epic if you take a few breaks? I want that all encompassing feeling of being really involved in an overwhelmingly immersive experience; an adventure, a journey. I want to read on while I’m still attached to the characters rather than coming back weeks or months later and having to fall for them again, or remind myself what it was I liked about them. My reviews help tremendously in giving me a recap on this though, and for incomplete series it can’t be helped anyway. It’s not a major inconvenience.
With a completed series though, when you just read one book and move on for a time, there is a feeling of something left unfinished hanging above you in that respect. I’m sure as a reader you’ll have felt that warm, satisfying feeling of having read something really good that spoke to you or made you feel something or was simply just exciting or imaginative. It’s a buzz in a way. I feel like finishing or getting towards finishing a series of books will give that same feeling of achievement, immersion and fulfillment that perhaps can’t be quite achieved when reading something without finishing.
So what are my candidates? Well, I’m mostly going to go off books I own – many of these are your typically widely recommended and well known series.
The Farseer Trilogy – Robin Hobb
My sister bought me these for Christmas last year and I’ve wanted to read them all year but just got caught up in other books for other reasons. I’m so excited to read them!
The First Law Trilogy plus the standalones – Joe Abercrombie
I read The Blade Itself. Awesome. I also own the other two in the First Law Trilogy plus all the First Law standalones. This is a heavyweight contender and one I’m already convinced I’ll love.
Wayfarers – Becky Chambers
I have the paperback of book one, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. I’m told it’s a series that really gives you that fulfilled glow that I’m looking for, in a character driven space opera. I feel like sci-fi is harder to get right than fantasy but when done well, it can be absolutely phenomenal. I’ve read nothing to suggest this will be anything other than brilliant.
The Witcher – Andzrej Sapkowski
Ah, the series that I always want to read whenever I have reading obligations. I know I could binge this with no problems. I’d like to think it’s as objectively great as I think it is, but it’s just a series I love so far (I’ve finished the first two books) – I adored the video game, the music, the medieval Polish setting. I really enjoyed the TV show too. Geralt is one of my favourite characters. I’d like to think this time next year I’ll have finished the lot.
The Broken Earth Trilogy – N K Jemisin
I’m so intrigued to read this Hugo award winning series – mixing the best of Fantasy and Science Fiction. I’ve even seen a few people call it their favourite series ever and I love the unique premise, aswell as the supercontinent setting. I’ve already bought book 1 although it’s on ebook. I love the covers so if I enjoy it a lot, I’d prefer to buy the series in paperback.
The Faithful and the Fallen – John Gwynne
I had a chance to do a group buddy read for this series and because I was behind with starting due to other reading commitments, it was a lost cause already and I didn’t join in. I own the full set of 4 which I got for my birthday earlier in the year. They’re all fairly thick and will take some going to get through but I’ve heard amazing things and it sounds completely my thing.
Empires of Dust – Anna Smith Spark
I’ve read book 1, The Court of Broken Knives and LOVED it, and have books 2 and 3 on the shelf. I’m planning to read both of these over the next few months.
Dragonslayer – Duncan M Hamilton
These 3 are some of my favourite covers, the artwork is so unique and eye catching and the story of Dragonslayer book one is really fun aswell – a good old fashioned Dragonslaying story. The next two books look to carry on in the same vein and I might just read them both in one go.
Embers of War – Gareth Powell
Book 1 was a really imaginative and enjoyable space opera and I own books two and three. Another series I need to finish over the next few months. Gave me all the space fuzziness.
His Dark Materials – Phillip Pullman
I have the deluxe gift edition with all three books in, so it makes sense just to read the lot right? It feels the perfect winter read.
The Broken Empire – Mark Lawrence
Great first novel, I own the other two and the Road Brothers follow up. Need to read these and move on to one of Mark’s other series too!
Mistborn & Way of Kings – Brandon Sanderson
I’m not sure whether the series appeal that much, but they’re so popular and widely loved that it’s hard not to be intrigued…
Other honourable mentions…
Powder Mage, Books of Babel, Licanius, two or three Anthony Ryan series, Daevabad trilogy, Song of the Ash Tree, Dresden Files, Rivers of London, Chorus of Dragons and I guess I better put Malazan on there too 😉
Have I missed anything obvious? Do you have any thoughts on the list? Let me know!